“The wise woman builds up her house,
but the foolish woman tears hers down with her own hands.”
Here is the only spot found in the Bible that actually uses the words, “wise woman”. This verse is making a contrast between a wise and foolish woman of the world in building her home, but I think all scholars agree, the verse isn’t speaking about the physical labor here of actual building. Thus far, I’ve come up with at least seven ways women can build up their homes and seven ways they can tear them down. I’m sure there are more, and as we go along, I hope to write about each one.
The first area that comes to mind in which we can build up or destroy our homes is through our words.
Proverbs 18:20-21 says:
“Wise words satisfy like a good meal;
the right words bring satisfaction.
The tongue can bring death or life;…”
You might be thinking, “How can words cause death?” I don’t believe it is speaking about a physical death here, but we all know mere words have the power to bring death to a marriage or a relationship. It can destroy people’s opinions about themselves and discourage them, so that they never reach their full potential. Words can cause a person to give up or they can spur a person on to succeed. They have the power to bring healing or harm. Pretty scary, especially when you think how quickly and carelessly we can use our words.
Let me ask you, can you remember someone saying something to you that wounded you as a child and you never forgot it?
Back when I was in fifth grade, I was sitting at my desk. It was in the afternoon, and our teacher was going over something. I don’t remember now what she was teaching, but I do remember that it was the last week of school before we were out for the summer and ready to move on to sixth grade, at least most of us were.
My very best friend at the time was sitting just three rows over from me, and the teacher had just asked V (short for very best friend) a question. I could tell V was very sincere when she stated that she didn’t know the answer. She wasn’t making light of it or anything, but for some reason, V’s response set our teacher off and she exploded! She began pointing her finger down at V and telling her she was stupid and this was why she wasn’t going to pass onto the sixth grade, but was going to have to do fifth grade all over again the following year. You could have heard a pin drop in our class at that moment. I think V already knew she was being kept back, at least I hope she did, but the rest of the class didn’t until that moment.
I don’t remember V’s look on her face, for I couldn’t even look up! I sat there looking down at the floor and hurting terribly inside. I don’t think V came back to finish out the remaining days of the school year and that summer her family moved to a new town where V was able to have a fresh start in a new school with new friends. I’m sure she never forgot that day though, for even now just thinking about it can stir up the same emotions in me.
The book of James calls the tongue a fire; a tiny member of the body which can’t be tamed (James 3:6ff). I’m sure we all can recall saying things in the past that we regret today. Words are often hard to forgive and even harder at times to forget, so how can we make sure that our words are words that heal, build up, and encourage our listeners?
Luke 6:45 says:
“The good [wo]man brings good things out of the good stored up in his/her heart,
and the evil [wo]man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his/her heart.
For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.
It’s a matter of the heart. We begin by guarding our hearts, our thoughts and the things we watch and read that may influence us in a negative way.
Phil 4:8 says:
“… whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right,
whatever is pure, whatever is lovely,
whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy
—think about such things. “
No one is perfect, we can always find things we don’t necessarily like or enjoy about others, and you can bet if we dwell on those characteristics for too long, our attitudes towards them are bound to come out eventually and have the potential to do some damage. Rather, if we refuse to dwell on those areas and accentuate the positives, we could quite possibly cause that person to rise up to their full potential! Believe it or not, we have that power!
Nancy Leigh DeMoss and those at Revive Our Hearts have come up with a great way to turn our thoughts towards our husbands around and begin to encourage him and build him up each day. It’s called the 30-Day Husband Encouragement Challenge, and if you’d like to take the challenge and see what can happen in just one month’s time, I’ve included the link below: